I’m very conflicted about this book.
Lionel Shriver’s writing is brilliant. She (Yes, Lionel is a woman’s name! I was surprised!) draws the reader in and captivates with truly impressive prose.
Obviously she’s trying to shock and provoke the reader. Somewhat like a well written version of a Michael Moore film. There are certainly points to think about regarding society, media, parenting and more.
On the other hand, I felt that the author undermines her own message by depicting SUCH a dysfunctional family. It’s hard to buy the message that it isn’t just the parent’s fault with these parents, particulary the father and the relationship between the parents. I kept screaming at them ( in my head) throughout the whole book, from the beginning almost: “why aren’t you all in therapy?!!
Also, the ending -sigh. I watch a lot of foreign films (foreign, as in not Hollywood) and well, without spoiling it for anybody, that was an American ending. A movie which I actually hated (gave me nightmares!), but deals with comparable topics and has an ending which is more believable is Funny Games by Michael Haneke (the original version, don’t know anything about the American Remake). Though I’m not actually recommending you watch the movie… there are others that are more palatable. Just here the topic is similar.
I’m also somewhat concerned – many of the people who recommended this book to me aren’t parents yet. I do hope this book hasn’t scared them!
My next book will be something more cheerful!